As stated on the FLDOE website, both the Mathematics Florida Standards (MAFS) and Language Arts Florida Standards (LAFS) were approved by the Florida State Board of Education on February 18, 2014. In response to public concerns about these standards, the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) in the fall of 2013 opened channels for the public to provide input to policy makers. Based on the results of the public comment, in January of 2014, the Department recommended that changes be made to the original Common Core State Standards adopted in July 2010. Both of the finalized MAFS and LAFS are to be fully implemented across the grades in the 2014-15 school year.
By now, everyone with interest or who has been paying attention to education throughout the state of Florida are aware that the dreaded FCAT has ended its reign over determining assessment in order to place the blame of accountability or lack of performance on schools, teachers, students and even parents is now over and now we may have the opportunity with the new assessment of seeing if in fact it was a failed assessment testing program and not necessarily a failed school system which in spite of yearly gloom and doom reports through FCAT, Florida has produced and performed some tremendous fetes of accomplishments in the educational arena of America and globally has enabled some students and teachers to acquire world class recognitions.
According to the March 17, 2014 FAQ sheet by Florida’s Commissioner of Education, Pam Stewart, (officially buries FCAT), with new, more rigorous standards in place to help Florida students succeed, the FCAT 2.0 no longer serves the purpose of measuring student progress and achievement. Commissioner Stewart’s top priority was to choose the best assessment for students ensuring that the test replacing the FCAT 2.0 in the 2014-15 school year best serve s Florida students by accurately measuring education gains and progress. To this end, the following goals were outlined:
- Provide timely and informative reports of results;
- Do not significantly increase the overall cost of testing to the state, districts or schools;
- Allow students to test as late in the school year as possible;
- Measure student mastery of the standards taught;
- Provide a basis for comparing Florida performance to that of other states;
- Meet high quality standards for assessment, including reliability and validity for a variety of accountability purposes;
- Provide the flexibility necessary in order for schools and districts to build technology capacity; and,
- Include appropriate accommodations for exceptional students.
In a recent article in St. Lucie County School District's ‘Lucie Links’ Newsletter, it indicates that the English Language Arts (ELA) Text-Based Writing Rubrics have been released and are available for viewing on the FSA Portal (see link below). These are draft rubrics, and the Florida Department of Education is soliciting public input through midnight on Friday, September 12, 2014. The feedback form is posted with the rubrics on the FSA portal.
Read more about what changes the new Florida Standards (www.fsassessments.org) will mean for our students and schools and the importance to all Floridians and the role we must all play in ensuring that we will never be consumed by a test again but look to achieving the achievable as laid out and prescribed by those at the state and local levels that we place in command of our educational system but remembering that we as citizens of Florida must be diligent watchdogs for attainable continuity and integrity in the process of providing the tools necessary today for our children----the leaders of tomorrow for our State and for our Country.
REF: Lucie Link Newsletter August 2014
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